(Reuters) - Philadelphia launched their Major League Baseball (MLB) playoffs campaign in emphatic fashion on Saturday, coming from behind to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals 11-6 in the opening game of their National League division series.
The Cardinals, who snuck into the playoffs after overhauling the Atlanta Braves on the last day of the regular season to grab the NL wild card, briefly threatened an upset when they jumped out to a 3-0 lead after a first inning home run from Lance Berkman.
But the Phillies, who posted the best record of any team in Major League Baseball during the regular season, scored a run in the fourth inning then snatched the lead in the sixth when slugger Ryan Howard blasted a monster three-run homer and Raul Ibanez added a two-run shot.
The Phillies added another five runs in the seventh and eighth innings then gave up three at the top of the ninth but always had plenty in reserve to seal a comprehensive victory ahead of Sunday's second game in the best-of-five series.
(Writing by Julian Linden in New York; Editing by Mark-Lamport Stokes)